I’d heard so many good things about the Red Rising Saga from other book bloggers and readers online, so when I saw it was on offer on Audible a few months ago, I had to buy it!
TL;DR Darrow is a Red, one of the miners living in a colony on Mars, tasked with the job of making the planet inhabitable for the rest of mankind when Earth dies. Treated as second class citizens by the ruling class, the Golds, there’s a rebellion slowly building beneath the surface, until a shock event thrusts Darrow into the centre of a revolution and exposes the dark secret that Mars may not be all that uninhabitable after all…
Darrow lives in a slum, works in a mine and dreams of a future where Mars is safe and inhabitable for the millions of people left living on a dying Earth. He knows he won’t live long enough to see the day his and his fellow miners’ efforts come to fruition, and he’s OK with that. His kids, or his grandkids, or his great grandkids will enjoy the freedom and safety he works so hard for, day in, day out.
He’s pretty damn good at his job – the best, you might say – and well respected in his community. He’s also married to the love of his life, Eo, at the ripe old age of sixteen. Life under the surface is short and explosive (sometimes literally), so there’s no time to waste when it comes to true love.
Unfortunately though, things aren’t quite what they seem. (Are they ever?) The Golds, a race of “superior” humans that rules over the Reds and other colours, have been keeping a dark secret for decades – the surface has been inhabitable for years and is now covered with a stunning metropolis overflowing with wealth, decadence, and indulgence whilst the Reds suffer and struggle for survival in the mines.
But a rebellion has been brewing for a while, and the rebels believe they’ve found their front-man in Darrow. He’s not convinced though, until a series of shocking and heartbreaking events forces him to accept his new fate.
Disguised as a Gold (think the residents of the Capitol in The Hunger Games), he’s thrown into a competition that pits young members of the Gold caste against each other in a battle of mental and physical fortitude to select the next group of leaders. If he survives, he’ll never be the same again.
I enjoyed Red Rising, I gave it 3.5 stars, but I had incredibly high hopes after everything I’d heard and it didn’t quite meet them. I wonder whether I might have enjoyed the paperback more, but there was nothing I could pinpoint about the narrator that bothered me, I just can’t put my finger on why this didn’t do it for me like it did for so many others.
One of the reasons I think is because of the other books I was comparing it to, for me it had really strong similarities to The Hunger Games (the segregated castes and deadly competition) and Nevernight (the Ancient Roman influence), two of my absolute favourite books, and it wasn’t quite as good as those two, in my opinion. I still enjoyed it, and would consider continuing to read the rest of the series when I’m caught up on my TBR. Especially as so many people who’s tastes I share, and who’s opinions I respect recommend it.
Have you read Red Rising? Did you love it? Tell me if you think I should read book two!